If you are injured in a car accident that is not your fault, the other driver (usually through his insurance company) is responsible for your medical bills. However the other driver’s insurance won’t pay your doctors directly or reimburse you after every doctor visit. Instead, you will need to wait until after you have finished all medical treatments and have been discharged by your doctors before asking for a settlement with the insurance company. Depending on your injuries, it could take several months, or even years, before you reach ‘maximum medical improvement’ and get discharged by your doctors. In the meantime, most doctors need to get paid right away or they will send you to collections.
Coordinating medical payments
That’s where other insurance steps in. If you have health insurance or Medicare, you can submit your doctor bills to them. Even better is if you have “Medical Payment” coverage (“Med Pay” for short) under your own car insurance policy. Med Pay will pay your doctors and even reimburse you for health insurance co-pays and deductibles if you choose to use your health insurance too.
If you don’t have insurance or any means to pay for medical care after an auto accident injury, Gama Law Firm can put you in touch with medical professionals who will treat you now but defer their bills until you settle with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Gama Law Firm can also help keep those bills you’ve already received out of collections.
Keep in mind that when you do settle with the other driver’s insurance company, you may need to use a portion of that settlement money to reimburse your health insurance, Medicare, or other people who have treated you on the condition that they would get paid back out of your settlement.
Depending on the reimbursement rate and right to be reimbursed, the amount of a settlement you put in your pocket can be significantly affected by which bills you pay first, which bills you submit to health insurance or Med Pay, and which bills can be deferred until settlement. This involves strategy that you need to discuss early on with your attorney.
Example of how medical bills get taken care of in a typical personal injury case:
- John gets injured in accident caused by someone else.
- John’s medical care includes an ambulance trip, a hospital visit, several doctor visits, two months of physical therapy, and a spine injection by a pain management doctor to help manage the pain.
- John submits all of his bills to his health insurance company. The spine injection is the only service that is not covered by his health insurance, but John’s attorney gets the pain management doctor to agree to keep his bill out of collections until they can settle his case with the other driver.
- After six months of care, John is discharged by his doctors.
- John’s attorney prepares a settlement package and after some negotiations between John’s attorney and the other driver’s insurance company, John finally agrees to a settlement. The settlement includes fair compensation for all medical bills (including health insurance co-pays and deductibles), John’s lost wages, pain, suffering, and inconvenience.
- John’s attorney notifies his health insurance company about the settlement, who requests reimbursement for their payouts. After some negotiation, his insurance agrees to reduce their reimbursement request by 20%.
- John’s attorney also negotiates with the pain management doctor who agrees to discount his bill by 30%.
- John keeps the rest (minus attorney fees and any case costs).
Every case is different and coordinating your medical payments involves strategy and knowledge of the law. Call Gama Law Firm today and discuss your situation for free…there is no obligation to hire us after the consultation.